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Thursday, October 11, 2007

October 12, 2007-Phuket Visit

wingssail image-fredrick roswold
Phuket Old Town

We took a spin around Phuket Island last weekend on a holiday and reconnoitering trip. Flew down on one of the budget airlines, rented a Honda Jazz, did three laps of Phuket.

It’s an interesting place, and our experience this weekend just proves again that no matter how much you are told about a place, even how many photos you see, you can never really know what it is like until you go there. We had no idea.

After having said that, should I try to tell you about Phuket?

Well, it is a fairly big island, with several widely scattered communities, lots of winding two lane roads going up and down the lush green hillsides, some really nice beaches, plenty of tourist traps and probably a few girly bars thrown in for good measure, but you couldn’t prove that by us; we sort-of bypassed the Patong bar neighborhoods.

We did check out the marinas, ran into some old friends (Jack & Norma, Egress II), inspected our room for King’s Cup at the Orchidacea hotel near Kata Beach, had some good food, snapped some photos, generally acted like the tourists we are. One thing we decided: you need a car to do much on Phuket Island. It is just too spread out for walking or even taxis.

We also found out that Phuket Town is a delightfully historical old town: plenty of Thai culture based on a Sino-Portuguese history. We just got a brief introduction to Phuket Town, only stopped for one dinner at the Baan Klung Jinda restaurant, and did a drive around on Sunday, but it seemed to have that right mix of funky old Asia and modern convenience which appeals to us.

We also got exposed to a timeshare sales pitch at the JW Marriot Beach Club. A colleague from work gave them our name and the sales team there invited us to stay for the weekend in return for our attendance at a sales presentation. You know the routine: free weekend for 90 minute sales pitch. OK, it saved us the price of a hotel; it was like earning $300 in an hour and a half. We didn’t mind the sales pitch either; it was interesting, but not persuasive. The bonus for us was that the room they gave us was top quality, 5-star. That was real luxury, but, as nice as it was, it’s not something we need to have on an every day basis. We didn’t buy. But thanks anyhow Rico.

wingssail image-fredrick roswold
Kata Beach

Our visit to Kata Beach however failed to give us any tangible evidence of what that bay was going to be like during King’s Cup, or that's what we hope at any rate. While we were there the SW monsoon was in full force, the sea was rough and the wind blew hard. All of the west side bays, the whole west side of Phuket actually, which looks so peaceful in the photos of previous King’s Cup regattas, was a treacherous lee shore. It doesn’t seem like much time between October 12 and December 1 for the monsoon to switch around, but we sure hope it does. I guess you gotta trust the weather patterns to be sort of reliable. We’ll see.

wingssail image-fredrick roswold
Judy enjoys the view


Anyhow, in November when we sail to Phuket we’ll already have a bit of an idea of what the place is all about before we arrive.

For cruisers, that is a luxury we can appreciate.


Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Singapore

Click here for the usual tourist info.
Click here to go to wingssail images for more photos but you might have to scroll down to get to the Phuket shots.

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